9-1-1: Fire, Ambulance, Police
When calling 9-1-1 please specify:
- What happened
- Where help is needed
- What help is needed
- Who you are
What is 9-1-1?
9-1-1 is the three digit telephone number which is used to report an emergency or to request emergency assistance. This emergency telephone number makes it faster and easier to reach Police
Oxford County has implemented the Enhanced 9-1-1 Emergency Response System. The difference between "enhanced" 9-1-1 and "basic" 9-1-1 relates to the fact that the enhanced system will display the civic address of the 9-1-1 caller on a computer screen at the emergency service dispatch centre. If voice communication is cut off for whatever reason, police can still be dispatched to the call location.
Because 9-1-1 will now be available to access, police, fire, and ambulance, the old emergency telephone numbers will eventually be taken out of service. People are advised to remove any reference to these numbers, including removing them from their programmable phones.
In most cases, people who are on a 2 party line system will receive the enhanced 9-1-1 service. However, it is recommended that you contact your local telephone company to confirm if this applies to your phone. People who are serviced by a 4 party line service will receive the basic 9-1-1 service meaning that the computer screen cannot display their location. The person making the 9-1-1 call will have to provide the dispatcher with their location. However, the municipal address will greatly assist in pinpointing the location of callers on a 4 party line system.
When do you use 9-1-1?
Call 9-1-1 only when URGENT police, fire, or ambulance is needed. When you dial 9-1-1, speak slowly and clearly. Wait and listen to the questions you are being asked.
What is an Emergency?
Any situation where the safety of people or property is at risk and urgent help is needed.
When should 9-1-1 not be used?
9-1-1 is NOT to be used for fun or as a prank call. Every time you call 9-1-1 as a joke, you tie up the line for someone who really needs help. For the same reason to prevent dialing 9-1-1 accidentally, it should not be entered into programmable telephones.
Regular calls to police, fire, or ambulance should not be made by using 9-1-1. If a fire code inspection or fire prevention information is needed, the fire administration phone number should be used. Similarly, if you have a non-emergency police or ambulance matter, use the administration phone number.
How does 9-1-1 work?
All 9-1-1 calls in Oxford County will be answered at a common location called a C.E.R.B. which stands for Central Emergency Reporting Bureau. In Oxford County, our C.E.R.B. is located in the Woodstock Amalgamated Dispatch Centre at the Woodstock Police Headquarters.
The computer located at the C.E.R.B. picks up the property location information associated with 9-1-1 calls and transfers this information with the 9-1-1 call. It is the ability of the system to link telephone numbers with, property locations, which makes the 9-1-1 system 'Enhanced'.
The C.E.R.B. is operated on a 24 hours per day, 365 days per year basis. It acts as the hub and the gate keeper for the 9-1-1 system, receiving all calls and directing them to the appropriate emergency response agency.
The people who answer the 9-1-1 calls are referred to as Call Takers. When a Call Taker receives a call through the 9-1-1 system, a computer screen in front of them displays the telephone number, municipality, and municipal address of the caller, if available. The Call Taker asks the caller if they require Police, Fire, or Ambulance assistance. Depending on the caller's response, the Call Taker then selects the appropriate button for Police, Fire or Ambulance and transfers the call.
The computer responds to the selection made by the Call Taker and routes the telephone call to the appropriate agency depending on the information associated with the telephone number. Once the Call Taker has made the connection and hears the caller and the dispatcher at the emergency service talking, the Call Taker disconnects from the conversation, freeing up the 9-1-1 for another call.
If the caller is disoriented or cannot properly communicate with the Call Taker, the Call Taker will listen for clues as to the type of emergency and the appropriate agency which should be contacted. For example, if a child using the system were to say the Call Taker "My mommy can't breathe! this would be an indication to the Call Taker that Ambulance assistance may be required and would act accordingly. If no response is received from the caller, the appropriate police department is dispatched immediately.
9-1-1 and Cellular Phones
Although the 9-1-1 system was not designed for cellular phones, cellular phones can access the system, but users should be aware that no information regarding the caller's location will be supplied to the Central Emergency Reporting Bureau (C.E.R.B.) or any responding emergency service.
The routing of 9-1-1 calls made on a cellular phone will depend on which cellular tower receives and transmits the call. All cellular calls received by a tower which is situated within the County of Oxford will be directed to the C.E.R.B. at the Woodstock Police Station. When a cellular call is received at the C.E.R.B., the computer screen will identify it as a cellular call and no information regarding the caller's location will be supplied.
Special caution is required when using cellular phones to place 9-1-1 calls in the boundary areas of the County. For example, it would be possible for a call made from within Oxford County to be picked up by a tower in a neighbouring county. If this were to occur, the call would be routed to a telephone operator, who could be located anywhere within the Province.
People reporting emergencies from their cellular phones will need to keep alert as to their location. When passing through intersections, drivers can take note of the names of intersecting roads. All intersections along roads which are named and numbered in conjunction with the Oxford County Civic Addressing system have been posted with new road signs containing detailed information. In rural areas, paying attention to nearby property signs posted at driveways along all County roads will also assist drivers in relaying their location.
For more information regarding emergency numbers for you cellular phone, please contact your cellular phone provider to find out which services are available to subscribers.
Who Pays For 9-1-1?
The cost of the Oxford County Enhanced 9-1-1 system is being shared by each telephone subscriber and by the County of Oxford. Every telephone subscriber bill (except cellular) will be charged 32 cents a month ($3.84 a year) by the telephone company. This is to cover the cost of bringing the municipal addressing information from the telephone to the C.E.R.B. and on to the emergency dispatch location, in a quick and reliable manner. This is the "enhanced" portion of the 9-1-1 service, which is complex and must be carefully maintained at all times.
The County of Oxford is paying for the costs of the neutral answering service, being provided at the C.E.R.B. by the Woodstock Police Service. This cost, $85,000, is being collected as part of the County portion of the property tax bill. This translates to an annual per capita cost of 90 cents.